Netball’s self-inflicted funding crisis solved with the stroke of a pen

The Diamonds are financially secure through the 2026 Commonwealth Games after the AIS announced it would top up netball’s funding by $9.4 million.

Feb 16, 2023, updated Feb 16, 2023
A second government bail-out has put Netball on a steady financial footing.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

A second government bail-out has put Netball on a steady financial footing.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

Australia’s best netballers took a massive hit last year when mining giant Hancock Prospecting withdrew its support for their high performance program after a player revolt.

But the Victorian government, through Visit Victoria, stepped in last October to cover that sponsorship with a $15 million deal before Thursday’s federal government windfall.

It’s a big win for Netball Australia, which recorded a $7 million loss over two years due to the impact of Covid-19.

The Diamonds, who won gold at last year’s Commonwealth Games, have a busy international schedule, playing in the World Cup in South Africa starting late July.

Netball Australia boss Kelly Ryan described the Australian Sports Commission funding as “important”.

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“Netball is the cornerstone of women’s sport in Australia and we thank the AIS for investing in the future success of the Australian Diamonds and our high performance program,” Ryan said in a statement.

“The Diamonds won gold at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, and will this year set out to regain the Netball World Cup.

“This important funding commitment will support netball’s continued success leading into Victoria in 2026.”

Bowls ($5.6m) and squash ($2.36m) also received AIS funding, with the bowls cash splash to support both Para and able-bodied high performance sport programs.

It’s a 59 per cent increase on the previous cycle leading up to Birmingham 2022, meaning bowls can now implement a comprehensive Para program.

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